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Submission Preparation Checklist

As part of the submission process, authors are required to check off their submission's compliance with all of the following items, and submissions may be returned to authors that do not adhere to these guidelines.
  • * The submission has not been previously published, nor is it before another journal for consideration (or an explanation has been provided in Comments to the Editor).
  • The submission file is in Microsoft Word document file format.
  • The text adheres to the stylistic and bibliographic requirements outlined in the Author Guidelines.
  • If submitting to a peer-reviewed section of the journal, the instructions in Ensuring a Blind Review have been followed.

Author Guidelines

Instructions for submitting Authors

Please read the following guidelines carefully. Failure to comply may result in your submission being returned and therefore delayed.

The guidelines presented on this page could also be found in this PDF-document. 

General guidelines

  1. Each issue of RELA has a specific theme outlined in the call for papers section of the website. Within each issue there will be a section with papers related to the theme, and one for open papers. As an author you are invited to submit your paper either in relation to a theme or as an open paper.
  2. Manuscripts should be submitted through the online system. Manuscripts submitted in relation to a thematic issue should be submitted to the appropriate section. Manuscript not related to a specific theme should be submitted to the section "Open Paper". New users should create a new account while previous users can log in using their user names and passwords.
  3. Unless otherwise notified RELA assumes manuscripts to be the property of the submitting author.
  4. Where a version of the manuscript has already been published, the submitting author should attach a statement to this effect and identifying that the article can be published by RELA with no costs incurred by the copyright holders. Authors are responsible for obtaining permissions from copyright holders.
  5. A manuscript will be considered under the condition it has not been submitted for publication to any other journal, nor is published or is planned to be published in any other journal or publication.
  6. An English language version of an article that has been published elsewhere in another language may be submitted for consideration. When submitting a manuscript in this category the submitting author is required to state that this is the case. Further, the author is required to provide a statement that a re-publication in English is allowed with no cost to RELA incurred by the copyright holders. Authors are responsible for obtaining permissions from copyright holders. English language manuscript versions will be processed as others.
  7. All identification of the author should be omitted from manuscripts so that they can be sent anonymously to reviewers. In places where reference is made within the manuscript to the author's own published work, the author should replace this reference with the statement 'deleted for anonymity' and omit details of the publication from the reference list. Please omit the text under the heading Acknowledgements as well. If a manuscript is accepted, the author will be asked to reinsert these details.
  8. Articles should be of 4000-8000 words including references and endnotes.
  9. A short biography including the name, title(s) and affiliation(s) of the author(s) should be submitted in a separate document.
  10. Authors are responsible for obtaining permissions from copyright holders for reproducing any illustrations, tables, figures or lengthy quotations that have been previously published elsewhere.
  11. To increase the coherence and continuity for our readers, authors are encouraged to review and refer to articles previously published in RELA.
  12. Articles should be submitted in Microsoft Word format (.doc).
  13. Please follow the conventions of British English spelling consistently throughout the manuscript.
  14. Please ensure that your submission is anonymised. For example, a) delete all references in the reference list to any of the authors own publications (you can note in the reference list that X number of references have been deleted for anonymity); b) delete any reference in the text to any of the manuscript authors own publications, e.g. instead of (author name, 2010) you could state (deleted for anonymity); c) delete any information that might be included concerning names of research projects which the paper is part of, any acknowledgements etc.; d) make sure to delete any information about author identity in the file properties.

What happens to the manuscript?

When the manuscript is submitted it will be reviewed by the editorial group. If deemed within the scope of the journal and potentially possessing the qualities for publication it will be sent for review by at least two reviewers. The review process is double blinded. The reviewers will review the article and suggest to the editorial group if it should be accepted, accepted with minor revisions, accepted with major revisions, resubmitted or rejected. Based on these recommendations the editorial group will make their decision. It is the ambition of the editorial group to provide feedback on submitted manuscripts within 4–5 months.

Decisions concerning submitted manuscripts cannot be negotiated.

If a paper is accepted with revisions the submitting author will be asked to re-submit within a stated frame of time. Failure to deliver a revised manuscript within this time may result in the manuscript being rejected. Re-submitted manuscripts will be reviewed by the editorial group and if necessary sent out for further review.

If an article is accepted, it is the sole responsibility of the author to deliver a print ready manuscript in accordance with the journal house style and in high quality English.

In a average, the time between the submission of a final version of an accepted manuscript and publication (as pre-published article) is six weeks.

Language policy

RELA is attentive to the fact that many authors do not have English as a first language and may find it difficult to make their research available to an English language audience. To encourage contributions from all over Europe RELA has the following language policy:

  1. Articles and abstracts are published in English.
  2. Articles can be submitted in a language other than English with permission for this from the editors (if you wish to use this option, you need to contact the editors before you submit the article). The editors will give permission if reviewers proficient in the submitting language are available. Such a manuscript needs to be accompanied with a two page synopsis in high quality English, specifying the aim of the article; the methods and theories drawn upon; whether it is conceptually or empirically based (and where the latter, the empirical material analyzed); and, the main results and conclusions drawn. If the article is accepted, the author is responsible for having it translated it into high quality English. Disclaimer: If it is not possible to find reviewers competent in both the submitting language and academic content, permission for the article to be submitted will not be granted. If this is the case the author will be invited to have the article translated into English prior to submission.
  3. As a guide, reviewers are currently and generally available for manuscripts to be submitted in English, Spanish, German, French, Dutch, Swedish, Danish, Norwegian, Polish and Portuguese.
  4. RELA will consider publishing an English language version of an article that has been published elsewhere in another language. (For further instructions, see above point 5, General guidelines.)

Organisation of manuscripts

  1. Manuscripts should be submitted in Times New Roman font, size 12, with double spacing.
  2. Paper size of the document should be in A4-size and not e.g. Letter-size.
  3. Use new line as separator of paragraphs in body text and reference list (not indentation)
  4. Citation in 40 or more words should be formatted as block quotes, i.e. separated from the body text, indented and without citation marks.
  5. The manuscript should include an abstract of 100-150 words stating the aim of the article, the methodological and theoretical perspectives adopted and reasons for this selection, and the main findings and conclusions.
  6. The abstract should be followed by 4-5 keywords.
  7. Acknowledgements should appear in a separate section, after the main text of the article and prior to the reference list.
  8. Footnotes should not be used and endnotes kept to a minimum. Endnotes should appear after the main text and before the acknowledgement section.
  9. The manuscript should be presented with the following order: abstract, keywords, main text, endnotes, acknowledgements, references.
  10. Tables and figures should be designed to fit into a page 150 x 222.3 mm (15 x 22.3 cm) and attached in a separate document. Their preferred location should be indicated in the main text.


  • References should be in accordance with RELAs guidelines. If these guidelines do not provide information (special cases for example) please consult the 7th edition of the American Psychological Association (APA) system.
  • Use the author/date system for citations: such as '... (Inglewood, 2009)'. When referring to a certain page '... (Inglewood, 2009, p. 45)' or '... as stated by Inglewood (2009, p. 45)'. List the references in alphabetical order at the end of the manuscript.
  • When referring to multiple authors of the publication refer to the first author and use 'et al.'. For example, '... (Andersson et al., 2008)'. Please note that the names of all authors should be given in the list of references.
  • Always use '&' not 'and' between two authors' names within citations. For example, '... (Johnston & Perreira, 2008)'. However, when naming authors in the body of the text use 'and'. For example, '... Johnston and Perreira (2008) have illustrated... '
  • When referring to publications by an author in the same year, differentiate them by letter. For example, '... (Andrews, 2009a, 2009b)'.
  • If the author is an organisation or institution and there is an accepted acronym, show the entire name the first time it appears in the text with the acronym in parenthesis. Only use the acronym in subsequent appearances. For example, the first time '... (European Commission [EC], 2001)' and the second time '... (EC, 2001)'.
  • When citing in body text, use single quotation marks rather than double
  • Remember to provide page numbers to the Reference section in the case the reference is to a published article or to a chapter in a book or a report.
  • When referring to an Internet site please include the date on which you downloaded the material. (See examples below under Internet.)
  • Supply full reference in the reference list, do not use abbreviations.

Some examples of references are provided below:

Articles in a periodical

Hartmann, J., Clarke, M., & Patrickson, M. (2008). Welcome to the party: A frame analysis of the construction of party identities in Swedish left parties new-member education. Studies in the Education for Adults, 52(2), 232-249.

Biesta, G. (2006). What's the point of lifelong learning if lifelong learning has no point? On the democratic deficit of policies for lifelong learning. European Educational Research Journal, 5, 169-180.

Article in a newspaper

Clarke, K. (2007, January 28) Lifelong Learning for all. World news, p. 22.

Article in an online newspaper

Beans, M., &, Burns, A. (2020, March 3). It's organic, but what does it mean? The New York Times. Retrieved October 28, 2020, from


Strauss, A., & Corbin, J. (1998). Basics of qualitative research (2nd ed.). Sage Publications.

Dean, M. (1999). Governmentality: Power and rule in modern society. Sage Publications.

Fejes, A., & Nicoll, K. (Eds.). (2008). Foucault and lifelong learning: Governing the subject. Routledge.


Lindblad, S., Pettersson, D., & Popkewitz, T. S. (2018). Education by the Numbers and the Making of Society. Routledge.

Chapters in books

Stern, S. L. (2007). On solid ground: Essential properties for growing grounded theory. In A. Bryant, & K. Charmaz (Eds.), The SAGE handbook of grounded theory (pp. 114-126). Sage Publications.

Jacobsson, G. (2004). A European politics for employability: The political discourse of employability of the EU and the OECD. In C. Garsten, & K. Jacobsson (Eds.), Learning to be employable: New agendas on work, responsibility and learning in a globalized world (pp. 42-62). Palgrave Macmillan.


Ministry of Education. (1998). SOU 1998:51. Vuxenutbildning och livslångt lärande. Situationen inför och under första året med Kunskapslyftet. Utbildningsdepartementet.


Solblad, K. (2007). Managing your time.

Association of Internet Researchers. (2002). Ethical decision-making and Internet research. Recommendations from the AoIR ethics working committee.

Papers presented at research conferences

Fejes, A., & Nicoll, K. (2010, July). Governing elderly care workers: A technology of activation and technique of invitation. Paper presented at the 40th annual conference of SCRUTEA, University of Warwick, UK.

Tables, figures and photographs

  • Tables and figures should be designed to fit into a page 150 x 222.3 mm (15 x 22.3 cm) and attached in a separate document. Their preferred location should be indicated in the main text.
  • Tables and figures should be numbered consecutively (i.e. Table 1, Figure 1 etc.) followed by a title (at the end no period), for example: Table 1. Characteristics of focus group participants, 1990-1995 (n = 39)
  • Tables may be reformatted by the publisher to permit more compact typesetting.
  • Photographs and figures may be supplied in colour, separately, in tif-format and in high contrast glossy print (300 dpi).


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